Sunday, January 22, 2012

to God be the Glory

inspiration: Week 3 of our "Immeasurable" series at Seacoast

so we've been in a series called Immeasurable at Seacoast.
((you can read my blog about last week's message HERE))

but this week, we focused on the first part of Ephesians 3:21: him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus...
Let me preface the remainder of the blog with a question...
Have you ever heard a sermon that you were certain the pastor was talking right to you?
Have you ever thought "How did he know about the situation with so-and-so?!" 
Well, let's just say, I had that experience last night.
...and it was like a kick to the gut....

Greg started off with a question "Does anyone own a scale? Have you ever gotten on that scale and thought 'This is not right?! I cannot possibly weigh this much! This is not me!'". And he went on to ask if someone's ever tagged us in a picture on Facebook that does not accurately reflect us and then proceeded to ask:

"What does the picture of God look like when people look at me?"

Confession: At this point in the sermon, I had had a few good laughs and was starting to feel good about the message. On most days, I feel like the picture I portray of God is fairly accurate...I have my quiet time; I spend a good part of my day in prayer and meditation; I serve in church; in fact, i'm studying the Gospels in my quiet time so that i know how to be more like Jesus...that's pretty good, right?!

Greg gave us a few points to remind us that God is glorified in the church when we capture our thoughts toward one now, things start going downhill...

He started making references to the construction that is taking place in Mount Pleasant (something I completely suffer through every morning when I go to work...There is construction going on right outside my door and it's totally and utterly frustrating!) and how he was frustrated with it and angry sitting in traffic and he began to question the engineer who designed it and whether it would even be worth it. But he had a kairos moment with God, who revealed to him "you must focus on the final project" and it completely changed Greg's perspective.

"We need to visualize the final project and rejoice in the construction" -Greg Surratt.

Philippians 1:6 says:
And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again
Greg also reminded us that often times, we're frustrated with the people around us (here's where the gut-checks start coming into play)...But it's not the people we're around that are our enemies - it's Satan and the false thoughts that he places in our minds. We're not at work against people - we're at work against evil spirits.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:12
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Now let me back up for a second...
Prior to church, my roommate and I had been absolutely blasting her previous living situation; we were fed up with what (in all honesty) is a petty situation that carries no real weight or significance in any realm. We were blasting her previous roommate about how she was acting immaturely and selfishly. We were criticizing her nagging "holier-than-thou" attitude, when in reality, what were we doing??

We were painting a completely inaccurate picture of the Jesus of the Bible. And that's when it hit me, I've been studying Matthew and Jesus' teaching, but I'm not applying it.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. -Matthew 5:7-9 where was the mercy, purity of heart, and peace in the conversation with my roommate? Oh yeah...completely absent. Ouch.

...but it only gets better.

God is glorified in the church when we purify our words toward one another.

...and let's just say my words about the aforementioned girl were not pure. at all.
Last year, my small group read through the book of James. James 3 is all about taming the tongue.
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire. -James 3:5
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? -James 3:10-11
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. -Ephesians 4:29
My words were not building anyone up; nor were they beneficial to anyone. Not even myself. If anything, the words I said were breeding nothing but contempt and pride.

Lastly, we glorify God in the church when we direct our actions toward one another.
In the same way, let your light shine before man, that they may see your good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:16
As i sit here typing this blog out, I'm wearing a 7 year old hoodie that says "TRI-HI-Y" (an organization I was in in high school) that says "Matthew 5:16" on it and has a picture of a lighthouse on it. I wear this hoodie frequently (because I take great pride that i've had it since my sophomore year of high school) but also because it's a reminder that i'm meant to shine a light in order to draw people to Christ.

but my actions last night proved to do nothing but tear others down and to propel me further from Christ by laying the foundation of a "holier-than-thou" attitude in my heart.

luckily, i know that despite my, often times, inaccurate portrayal of God doesn't keep me from being loved by him. He still chooses to use me. He still loves me. and He is still going to do a good work in me until the day of completion when I am reunited with Christ.

i can take credit for nothing in my life because it's moments like these when i realize just how desperately i need God.
so for all my accomplishments and great works: to God be the Glory!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Nikki! Preach it!!:) mel